Madelon Albert, M.A
Natural Resources: The Importance of our world
The 2009 documentary film “HOME” brings attention to the fact that “20% of the world’s population consumes 80% of its resources.” 80%! This is astonishing in a negative way from an environmentalist’s perspective. The earth is a very old planet and it is not getting any younger. We as the human race are not helping the earth age well either with things that we use every day in our industrialized existence. Industrialized nations have created an imbalance of natural resources and we are just now in the 21st century really starting to realize the impact of our actions. Is our precious planet doomed? In this paper I will outline some common issues concerning the misuse of the world’s natural resources and give insight into what can and/or is actively being done.
The first issue I would like to talk is one that all of us may have thought about quite recently, maybe even the last time you turned on your car. I am talking about energy consumption. Ever since Karl Friedrich Benz invented the first gasoline powered automobile in the late 1880s fossil fuels have been widely used in the vast majority of car and land vehicles. In America’s turn of the century cars became growly popular thanks to Henry Ford. We have been using gasoline in our cars for over one-hundred years and the demand for gas is growing while fossil fuels themselves are limited and expensive. An average U.S. household buys more than 1,100 gallons of gas per year according to the Natural Resource Defense Council or NRDC. Also according to the NRDC, the amount of money spent last year on gasoline in the United States was over 481 billion dollars. This is an all-time high. Not only is this consumption threatening to our wallets, but it is very threatening to our environment. The fossil fuels that are burned in our gas come from low-grade substances that go back into the air we breathe and cause the environment to become more and more polluted overtime. The more gas we burn the more carbon dioxide gets put into the air and upsets the balance of nature. Not only is energy consumption a concern in our cars, but in our homes in everyday electric use as well. In 2012 alone the United States used over 3,741billion Kilo-watts of electricity (indexmundi.com). Electric use also takes up coal and other fossil fuel subsidies, so you can clearly see we are draining our resources dry. Is there a way to combat this viscous cycle of energy use? Renewable energy is the answer.
Renewable energy is energy that comes from natural resources and it does not alter the environment in an overall negative way. Renewable energy can come from wind, rain, tides, waves, or even sunlight. I will focus on renewable energy in terms of wind and sunlight. First off, how can you harness something as simple as the wind for renewable energy? The most innovative way is from wind farms. Wind farms are places where there are 30 story tall wind turbines that spin and generate power for hundreds of homes. Wind farms have been around roughly four decades and today generate roughly 50,000 megawatts of clean, renewable energy (NRDC). These wind farms not only are good for the environment, but they also have the potential to create thousands of jobs for installation and maintenance purposes. Another great way of obtaining renewable energy is through sunlight. Solar technology has been around for years and it continues to be a great source of renewable energy. Solar power plants have sprung up around the world and people are trying to put these technologies into practice for transportation purposes. We are still a ways away from a completely solar powered car, but if people continue to invest in these wind farms and solar sources the future planet maybe much brighter.
The documentary “HOME” is powerful film about environment ethics. It brings many issues to the attention of its audience. At...